Different types of radar systems

Radar technology is one of the most advanced technologies for measuring object distances from the earth. Because of this, there has been a variety of radar systems that are used for various purposes. Radar systems are classified under various categories depending on their functions and purposes. This list highlights some of the most common radar systems employed under different functions and used by different sectors.

1. Bistatic radar

Bistatic radar is a radar system that comprises of a transmitter and a receiver that are separated by a distance that is equal to the distance of the expected target. A radar in which the transmitter and the receiver are located at the same place is known as a monastic radar. Most long-range surface-to-air and air-to-air missiles employ the use of bistatic radar.

2. Continuous-wave radar

A continuous-wave radar is a type of radar where a known stable frequency continuous wave radio energy is transmitted and then received from any of the objects that reflect the waves. A continuous-wave radar uses Doppler technology which means the radar will be immune to any form of interference by large objects that are stationary or slow-moving.

3. Doppler radar

A Doppler radar is a special form of radar that employs the use of the Doppler Effect to produce velocity data about an object at a given distance. This is achieved by sending electromagnetic signals towards a target and then analyzing how the object’s motion has affected the frequency of the returned signal. This variation has the capacity to give extremely accurate measurements of the radial component of a target’s velocity in relation to the radar. Doppler radars have applications in different industries including aviation, meteorology, healthcare, and many others.

4. Monopulse radar

A monopulse radar is a radar system that compares the received signal from a single radar pulse against itself with an aim of comparing the signal as seen in multiple polarizations or directions. The most common form of monopulse radar is the adaptation of conical scanning radar which compares the return from two directions to directly measure the location of the target. It is important to note that most of the radars that were designed since the 1960s are monopulse radars.

5. Passive radar

A passive radar system is a type of radar that is designed to detect and track objects by processing reflections from non-cooperative sources of illumination in the environment. These sources include such things as communications signals and commercial broadcasts. Passive radar can be categorized in the same class of radar as a bistatic radar.

6. Instrumentation radar

Instrumentation radars are radars that are designed to test rockets, missiles, aircraft, and ammunitions on government and private test ranges. They provide a variety of information including space, position, and time both in real-time and in the post-processing analysis.

7. Weather radars

Weather radars are radar systems that are used for weather sensing and detection. This radar uses radio waves along with horizontal or circular polarization. The frequency selection of weather radar depends on a performance compromise between precipitation refection and attenuation as a result of atmospheric water vapor. Some weather radars are designed to use Doppler shifts to measure the speed of wind and dual-polarization to identify precipitation types.

8. Mapping radar

Mapping radars are used to scan a large geographical region for geography and remote sensing applications. Because of their use of synthetic aperture radar, they are limited to relatively static objects. There are some specific radar systems that can sense humans behind walls thanks to the reflective characteristics of humans that are more diverse than the ones found in construction materials.

9. Navigational radars

Navigational radars are generally the same as search radars. However, they come with much shorter wavelengths that are capable of reflecting from the earth and from stones. They are most common on commercial ships and other long-distance commercial aircraft. There are various navigational radars that include marine radars commonly mounted on ships for collision avoidance and navigational purposes.

Now knowing the different types of radar systems check out our post going into detail about The advantages and disadvantages of radar systems here.

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